FrontRunners: Carbon Flyer
The Learjet 85 (www.bombardier.com), the latest model from Bombardier Business Aircraft, will be the company’s first all-composite jet and the biggest Learjet ever. Thanks to a lightweight carbon-fiber fuselage, the plane’s cabin can be larger, fuel usage will be lower (low enough to allow for a 3,450-mile nonstop flight), and the plane will be able to fly faster. "With metal, you need to compromise," says Simon Lafrenière, Learjet’s product-planning manager. "With composites, we can design more complex shapes to enhance aerodynamic performance." Deliveries of the $20 million jet are scheduled to begin in 2012.